Press Releases

Press Release #12-19

Contact: Seth Solomonow/Nicole Garcia (212) 839-4850

NYC DOT Announces Expansion Of Energy-efficient LED-light Installations Citywide

City’s East River Bridges, Central Park and roadways such as the FDR Drive and Eastern Parkway to receive lighting upgrades

LED lighting to replace metal halide, mercury vapor and high-pressure sodium lights, saving energy and costs

New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the sweeping installation of light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures in Central Park, the East River Bridges, Eastern Parkway and the underdeck of Manhattan’s FDR Drive—significant upgrades to the City’s lighting infrastructure that will provide substantial energy- and cost-savings while providing quality light to these public spaces. Importantly, these upgrades retain, and in some instances, improve illumination levels of these areas, and continue to enhance public safety. DOT, together with the Climate Group and the U.S. Department of Energy, initiated a multiyear study in 2009 as part of a global study to quantify the benefits for cities to use LED lighting versus existing fixtures. Observations of LED fixtures on the FDR Drive and in Central Park showed significant energy savings, up to 50% and 83%, respectively. Given these findings, and the overall goals of PlaNYC, the Mayor’s sustainability agenda, and DOT’s strategic plan, DOT will start replacing all 1,600 metal-halide fixtures in Manhattan’s iconic Central Park, which is expected to deliver energy savings of up to 62%. The agency also is moving forward to replace hundreds of remaining mercury-vapor necklace lights on all of the East River Bridges and also install LED fixtures on key highways. The LED program is expected to achieve nearly $300,000 in annual energy and maintenance savings in fiscal year 2013, with additional savings to follow that reflect the full year value.

“Energy-efficient LEDs light up our parks, bridges and streets and also bring years of cost savings to our city,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “From recycled asphalt to low-emission fuel on the Staten Island Ferry to energy-saving necklace lights on the Brooklyn Bridge, we are engineering a greener, greater city for generations to come.”

“The LED light upgrades will result in significant energy and cost savings for the city,”  said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. “The initiative will help us achieve our greenhouse gas reduction goals set out in PlaNYC and will benefit all New Yorkers by making our city more sustainable. I want to thank the Department of Transportation for taking the lead on this project and I look forward to seeing more energy-efficient lighting across the city.”

“With these LED installations, our city is giving the green light to energy and cost-savings,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin.

“The Department of Transportation's Introduction of LED fixtures in Central Park makes this green public space even 'greener,'" said Doug Blonsky, President and CEO of the Central Park Conservancy. "Coupled with the Conservancy's use of sustainable design materials and water conservation efforts, the City of New York's forward-thinking improvements mean the Park will always be a phenomenal 'back yard' for New Yorkers."

Following a pilot program in 2009, the agency will continue building on a program to retrofit Central Park’s lights with more energy-efficient lighting. The $1.4 million replacement of the 1,600 175-watt metal halide fixtures with LED will begin later this month. A project to replace 500 fixtures along the Central Park transverses is planned for next year.

DOT also will completely replace 1,200 fixtures along underpasses on the FDR Drive and at other Manhattan locations by the end of the year. To date, 400 fixtures have already been upgraded, replacing existing 150 watt high-pressure sodium bulbs with 108 watt LED fixtures that will provide an estimated energy savings of 30%. Through routine maintenance and capital construction contracts, DOT aims to replace all 5,500 underdeck lights citywide over the next few years.

DOT is currently working to replace all 224 lights on the Williamsburg Bridge with more energy-efficient LEDs. This work is expected to be completed this month and will be followed by the replacement of 218 lights on the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge, all 160 necklace lights on the Brooklyn Bridge and 166 lights on the Manhattan Bridge. This effort is being funded with approximately $1.1 million, of which $492,000 is allocated from the Mayor’s Energy Fund.

The expanded use of LEDs along Eastern Parkway includes the replacement of 142 fixtures in 2013 that is expected to produce up to 62% in energy savings. The first phase will be funded with $124,000 from the Mayor’s Energy Fund, while the remaining 483 fixtures along the parkway will be replaced in 2013 using an additional $424,000 from the Mayor’s Energy Fund. DOT also is looking to incorporate LED technology into street lights. Four prototype LED fixtures are currently being reviewed in Lower Manhattan for broader applications. Pending Public Design Commission approval, purchase of Citylight LEDs for two additional locations is anticipated, including fixtures for 125th Street as part of a streetscape improvement initiative.

From August 2009 through January 2011, DOT, Climate Group and the U.S. DOE conducted two separate studies to collect data on the performance of LED fixtures on the FDR Drive and Central Park. The tests measured factors such as illumination, color and energy consumption, among others. Both replacement trials showed promise. For instance, a full-scale LED replacement program for Central Park could result in significant cost savings. Over 12 years, the NYC-1(a)—one of the fixtures used during the evaluation—could save as much as $2.3 million in energy costs. Analysis also showed similar cost-savings could be produced by a full-scale installation of LEDs on the FDR Drive.

DOT operates the largest municipal street-lighting system in the country with 262,000 lights on City streets, bridges and underpasses, 12,000 in parks and 26,000 on highways. For the past decade, the agency has pioneered the application of energy-efficient lighting to both optimize and green its operations. New York City was the first large American city to use LED traffic signals, converting fixtures at nearly all of the more than 12,000 signalized intersections Citywide and producing an annual energy savings of 81%. Improving streetlights’ efficiency also reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The City has installed 250,000 lower watt fixtures citywide, reducing streetlight energy consumption by more than 25% since fiscal year 2006. This effort translates into the avoidance of more than 40,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

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